The words forever hallowed on the hit TV show Game of Thrones “winter is coming”, and if you’ve got any of the tires below I’m sure you’re wincing with anticipation. I’ll be looking at a list of impressive works of craftsmanship to give you a run-down of best snow tires for your road-bound ice queen. If you’re actually living in Florida and don’t know what you’re doing reading this article, you might want to check out our see our list of best all-season tires.
- Standard Winter Tires
- Truck / SUV Winter Tires
Standard Winter Tires
General AltiMax Arctic
So this tire is about as entry level as it gets. It’s a very cheap tire, but definitely worth its weight in gold. I’d recommend these as an incredibly set of spares, or a good low-budget first set. These tires have an odd look about them with the sipes on them, but this will be useful and here’s why:
- Great traction in wet and cold weather
- Water Evacuation to avoid hydroplaning and sliding on slushy roads.
- 270 degrees of Siping (multi-angle)
- The cons for this guy seem to be not what’s wrong with the tire, but the lack of competitive edge in such a general purpose piece at a low price. That being said, if you’re new to ice driving, then I’d have a go with these first because they definitely won’t break the bank, at least you won’t think so when you’ve seen the high-end pieces.
Yokohama Iceguard iG52c
This tire focuses more on compacts, sedans and vans than other vehicles, so they don’t appear to be racing tires for the ice. That being said if you live in a place that has icier climates it could be very much of use to you at a low price.
- Eco friendly (If that kind of thing matters to you)
- Proficient in dry, wet, icy, snowy and slushy roads. Definitely, all-purpose cold-weather tires.
- Twin Steel belt for peace of mind.
- Great for colder conditions, these tires don’t have all that much information about warmer conditions. This may not bode well for those looking for a year-round tire.
Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter
The Goodyear brand seems to be synonymous with versatility when it comes to tires. They’ve got so many different lines you’d think it was a DMV! Think cold weather means low traction? Think again.
- High Traction at the height of a cold winter.
- Good shoulder blocks for stability and even tread.
- Water Evacuation to avoid hydroplaning and
- For the price, you can’t really go wrong and aren’t too many bad words to say about this tire. Like the Alti-Max, it’s simply a matter of not being as good as other tires yet still having a good enough bang for the buck to make it a valuable spare.
Michelin X-Ice3 Xi3
This tire is one of the most interesting ones, if for nothing else, then the silica-based compound used. This compound offers higher stability at higher temperatures while still being proficient at colder temperatures. If that doesn’t scream outlier I don’t know what does!
- As mentioned above, silica-based compound that makes this bad boy very versatile
- Low rolling resistance for lower fuel consumption and lower emissions (Go Michelin!)
- Snow wear indicators will let you know when proficiency is reduced in deep snow
- This tire is slightly pricier than the low-budget tires up front. On the plus side, fuel consumption will be lower making it more of an investment than the lower budget tires.
Continental WinterContact SI
If you own a sedan, coupe, minivan or crossover then this could be more your speed. Instead of innovating the compound completely, to keep the reliability we know and love Continental have used additives to improve pliability in lower climates.
Additives used for pliability in lower climates while keeping the handling in the dryer and hotter temperatures.
- Dimensional snow-biting edges.
- Tread-depth indicator to let you know when it’s not as safe to use in the snow
- Although this tire does seem to be the best of both worlds when it comes to composition, I’m not so sure about how long it’ll last in comparison to other tires or even how the additives work in practice. The theory and science add up though, so it seems like a relatively good get.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
If you like the science behind the tire, this could definitely be an interesting read for you. Hydrophilic coating and microscopic bite particles are pretty epic features in what, at first glance, is a very advanced tire.
- Multicell technology allows flexibility in very harsh (below freezing) conditions
- Hydrophilic compound that creates a higher level of wet proficiency
- Microscopic biting edges for improved performance and you won’t even be able to see it all
- The tire seems to avoid talking about higher temperatures; this can be bad news because no news isn’t always good news like we’re led to believe.
Falken EuroWinter HS449
Falken has made a consistent tire when it comes to lower temperatures and less than usually desirable conditions. The compound extends tread-life, making it an investment.
- Interesting compound that extends tread life. Has a longer life than competitors
- Asymmetric tread creates a consistent control on wet and dry roads
- Great for high-performance sedans, coupes and wagons
- I’m not sure if this tire is going to be all it’s cracked up to be. The reason I say this is that Falken isn’t an incredibly well-known brand when competing with the likes of Michelin and Bridgestone. Could be worth a gamble, though.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8
This tire is completely geared for winter. If you look it up on google, you’ll see that this tire looks like something out of a spy movie, and it’s made by those lovable Finnish boys who have produced quite a few rally drivers of note. Doesn’t that say it all?
- The anchored studs make for impeccable grip and the cushion makes for a soft impact, meaning it’ll last longer than competitors without that cushion in there.
- Sawtooth pattern on the rear tread makes for some deeper biting edges than usual.
- Added reinforcement in the center section of the tire makes for a quicker response in the steering. Another great addition to the performance of this piece of art.
- The only con with this tire is that given the studs are anchored, don’t expect for these tires to last long in the warmer months. Winter only, but done so damn well.
Hankook Ventus V12 EVO K110
This guy is developed for sports and high performance vehicles, so if you’re planning on becoming an amateur rally driver, maybe these tires could work for you.
- Silica technology for fuel efficiency and low noise pollution. Always useful on a sports car.
- Rim protection ridge.
- The Evo doesn’t seem to have any readily available flaws. There is an unknown about how it will perform in warmer weather.
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 2
Sottozero is Italian for below zero. Nuff said. Designed for high performance and sports cars, and it definitely seems like a good bet for high speeds in controlled environments.
- Proficiently versatile in a multitude of conditions including dry, wet, snowy, icy and cool conditions.
- Polymer additives that enhance the mechanical and dynamic properties of this brilliant tire.
- High-density 3D siping improves braking performance.
- A common issue with snow tires is their unknown ability in warmer climates. This tire isn’t any different in its evasion of stating summer performance. But if you have a car that warrants these winter tires, you probably already have a good set of tires for warmer times of the year.
Truck / SUV Winter Tires
Pirelli Scorpion Ice
Pirelli is an Italian company. That says a lot when it comes to anything automotive when we think of two of the most well-known car manufacturers in the world, Ferrari and Lamborghini, calling Italy home. But does this tire measure up?
- The composition includes silica components and even a polymer to increase performance.
- Eco-friendly with clean air and fuel efficiency.
- Less noise pollution. Given these tires are designed specifically for SUVs and Crossovers, this is always a big plus
- Unless you have an SUV or a Crossover, eat your heart out. This tire isn’t made for your average compact, so even if sizes for your car are available, it’s likely that it won’t have the same amount of bang for your buck as other competitors designed for your type of car will.
Michelin Latitude xIce Xi2
Another SUV tire, another silica based compound for the tread. This tire actually provides a firm platform at higher temperatures, which is quite odd with a good winter tire. Here we have a tire that doesn’t compromise its reliability overall to adjust to warmer climates.
- Good performance in both cold and warm climates.
- Silica-based tread to offer firmness in hotter climates and retains pliability at lower temperatures for the sake of traction when you need it most.
- Twin steel belt with wound polyamide cord for the accommodation of a higher performance potential.
- The only downside is that they haven’t made an optimized size for smaller vehicles. Other than that, hats off to Michelin they made a great tire.
Cooper Discoverer M+S
Here we have a stud-able SUV tire. Most only go for sipes as studs in larger vehicles can bring reliability issues to the table. Cooper aren’t incredibly well known and they’ve gone for a riskier concept, but does it pay off?
- Stud-able tire. This can make all the difference with traction, not including the siping that they threw in for that extra level of brilliance.
- Snow grooves for extra bite in the snow
- Dense Zig-Zag pattern for wet traction
- No information about higher climates. This isn’t a good indicator of performance in warmer climates.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
On and off road capabilities give this tire an edge. SUV snow tires with an off-road capability can be incredibly useful for the more adventurous. Great potential.
- On and off-road capability. Interesting to say the least.
- Computer optimized for enhancement humans couldn’t get quite as right.
- Multiple features enhancing the structure to make it one heck of a durable tire.
- To cut a long story short, this is a tire with a lot of promise as a brilliant snow tire. Still, once again we’re left with a lack of warm weather information on the tire.
Nokian WR G3
The snowflake symbol, which is featured on a lot of the above tires, is actually something that is an intense industry standard. What makes this tire different is that it’s one of the only year-round tires to earn that symbol.
- A year-round tire with a snowflake symbol. Very rare.
- Smooth and firm handling capabilities
- Less Noise Pollution
- The only downside to this tire is that in incredibly hot conditions, this tire doesn’t do incredibly well. That being said, so long as you don’t live in a very high climate country, then these are very good year-round tires. They’re a fan favorite in places with a milder summer as they’re one brilliant winter tire as well.
Dunlop Winter Maxx
Having this tire will be good for the more nervous of winter drivers. The consistency and reliability could be said to put even the shakiest of winter drivers (and not just because it’s cold) at ease.
- Silica-enhance nano-fit technology for the sake of traction. Overkill? Maybe. Brilliant? Definitely!
- Optimized through simulation-based computing
- Jointless Band Technology (JLB) for the inner structure. Long story short, it makes this tire very durable.
- I can’t readily see any issues with the Winter Maxx. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any; it just means I can’t see any at this time.